By now you guys know I’m kind of obsessed with Anthropologie. I love visiting their stores and browsing their gorgeous wares online.
This love exists despite my extreme cheapskatedness. I’ve never purchased an item of clothing from them. Instead, I’ve made a few Anthropologie-Inspired DIY copycats, like this clay top, and this maxi dress.
My Inspiration: The Nikola Utility Mini Dress
I love this dress. It’s called the Nikola Utility Mini Dress and it’s fabulous. I love the color, the fit, the pockets(!!!), and those ruched sleeves that give it an unexpected touch of femininity.
My Before Piece: A Boring Dress from my Closet
I thrifted this dress for $1, figuring it would be good for work (aren’t boring work clothes just the worst????)
It’s beige. It’s bland. And I’ve never actually worn it to work or anywhere else.
Getting my boring blah blah beige dress up to Anthropologie standards was going to take a few steps.
- I needed to dye it to get as close to that sunny yellow hue as possible.
- I needed to add two more pockets.
- I needed to shorten & ruche the sleeves.
- I needed to convert that tie belt into a belt with a button closure.
- I needed to shorten the hem (just a tad).
Dyeing the Dress
I looked through my dye stash and found half a bottle of this:
I set up a dye bath with hot water, salt, the dye, and my dress.
Unfortunately, the dye wasn’t really taking, even though the fabric content is 97% Cotton/3% Spandex.
So, I went back to my stash and grabbed a bottle of this:
I only added a splash of the orange dye to the bath as I was worried about the yellow not picking up at all.
I stirred my dress in the dye periodically for 40 minutes, then rinsed it in my washing machine and dried it.
Now that my dress was dyed to a yellow-orangish hue, it was time to make a few chops.
The sleeves needed to be shortened, and I needed to remove that swoop from the bottom hem if I wanted to be true to my inspiration piece.
Those lower bits of the sleeves are going to come into play later, as well as those hidden straps that were originally for holding the sleeves up if they were rolled.
How to Sew Patch Pockets
I knew I wanted my patch pockets to be the same size and shape as the existing top pockets, so I traced one using pattern paper (you could use tissue or parchment paper too).
Then, I measured the seam allowance for the existing pockets.
I added those measurements to my pocket outline.
You can see I left that bottom angle flat for my pocket pattern. That’s going to help me get a nice sharp corner. You’ll see!
I pinned my pattern to one of the cut off sleeves, and cut out my two pockets!
Here they are!
Now, Let’s make some pockets!
I laid each pocket with the right side facing down, and got to ironing.
First, I folded the top section over once (half of its allotted seam allowance), and pressed it down.
Then, I pressed the other seams inside as well, adhering to my pre-measured seam allowances, and finishing them off by folding that top part over again.
I ran the top part of each pocket through my machine.
Here’s what it looked like on the other side when I was done!
I tried my dress on, and pinned where I wanted the pockets to be. Then, I pinned them down, making sure they were placed at the same place (horizontally) as the top pockets.
Time to stitch them into place!
I decided to forgo the top flaps for these pockets as I only had two extra buttons from the sleeves, and one of those would be needed to make my belt happen.
The technique I used to gather the sleeves is pretty much the same as the one I used for my recent tiered dress refashion.
I just set my stitch length to 5 and my tension to 6.
Make sure to keep long thread tails at the beginning and end, AND don’t backstitch. This will let you adjust the gathers later.
Here’s the view from the back of my machine.
And here’s what those sleeves looked like when I was done.
Of course, I couldn’t leave those sleeves with raw edges on the ends now could I?
I grabbed the very ends of the sleeves that I cut off in the beginning, folded the insides down and pressed them, like this:
Then, I turned them right side out, and pinned them to the gathered part, adjusting the gathers to make sure they fit.
Finally, I stitched the sleeve caps to the sleeves!
Now for that belt…
The original belt for my dress was a tie belt, but I needed to imitate the snap closure on the Anthropologie version as well as I could.
I thought I’d need to add a buttonhole to one end of the belt, but discovered the sleeve garter thingies were the same width as the belt!
I pinned the end of the sleeve garter to the belt, and stitched it down!
I removed a button from one of the cut-off sleeves….
…and hand-stitched it to the other end of my belt!
I measured my waist and took the belt in from the back.
Now for a quick hem!
This dress was already on the short side, so I folded the pinked edge of my hem under…
…and stitched it down!
After a final (!) ironing, I was done!
Here’s my Anthropologie-Inspired DIY Copycat!
I styled my new dress with a pair of vintage grey Bass pumps and white sunglasses.
The color is a good bit off, and I would have preferred to have added top flaps to the bottom pockets. But overall, I think I came pretty close!
What do you think?
Anthropologie Nikola Utility Mini Dress: $148
Thrifted Dress: $1